It is a widely known fact that drugs are bad for you. People generally know that drugs cause addictions and can get you arrested, and many people have tried drugs or know someone who does drugs.

Every year, substance abuse kills a staggering 60,000 people in the United States alone. Many people know that abusing drugs and alcohol can kill you, but how many people actually know how and why they do? Here are some ways that abusing drugs could potentially lead to your demise.

  1. Overdose

One of the most common causes of death due to abuse of drugs is overdose. This often happens when a person takes too much of a drug at once, causing his body to fail under the pressure and stress.

Overdoses often occur when heavy drug users who have been drug free for a long period of time relapse and end up taking too much at once. When a person takes drugs, they find that they need  to gradually increase dosages in order to feel the same effect due to the resistance the body develops to the drug.

However, when a person stops taking drugs for a long period of time, the body starts to lose its resistance to the drug. Thus, when relapsed users go back to taking drugs, they tend to overestimate their body’s resistance to the drug by taking the same dosage as they were taking before they stopped. Their bodies are overwhelmed by the dose and are unable to resist the drug, causing the user to overdose and possibly lose his or her life.

  1. Excessive Stimulation

Many of the common drugs that people abuse are stimulants, that is, they give people the feeling of pleasure by releasing adrenaline-like hormones in the user’s body. This can give a person the feeling of being high, but also comes with many nasty side effects.

Many of these stimulation-based drugs kill by over-stimulating your body. These drugs, such as cocaine and meth cause the abuser’s heart rate and blood pressure to rise, and blood vessels to narrow. These side effects can lead to death in a number of ways:

  1. Brain damage – Due to the increased blood pressure, a blood vessel could potentially rupture in the victim’s brain. The narrowed blood vessels can also reduce the amount of blood being pumped to the brain, and in both of these cases can lead to brain damage and in the worst cases, death.
  2. Cardiac arrest – The narrower blood vessels reduce the volume of blood that is pumped and the increased blood pressure can mean that the heart has to work harder to sustain the victim’s body. These could cause excessive stress to the heart, and may cause death by triggering a heart attack.
  3. Overheating – Stimulants also cause a release of dopamine in the human body. Dopamine regulates body temperature and such an increase will confuse the body and cause the body to be unable to cool down. This, coupled with the increased heart rate and blood pressure, can cause a victim’s body to overheat and will cause death if not treated immediately.
  4. Muscular Twitching and Paralysis

This is most commonly the cause of death in nicotine related substance abuse cases. This occurs when a person has an overdose of nicotine, which is often caused by using more than one source of nicotine at once (e.g. Nicotine patches, nicotine gum, cigarettes etc.).

When low levels of nicotine are introduced into a person’s body, it only causes stimulation in a person’s nervous system, causing addiction in the process. A person’s muscular system is not affected.

However, when a large dosage of nicotine is administered to a person, it can cause the person’s nervous system to enter into confusion, or seizures, and in the most severe cases, coma can follow. A large enough dosage will also cause a person’s muscular system to be affected , and can paralyze enough muscles to prevent a person from breathing, as well as causing heart attacks, which are both potential causes of death.

  1. Alcohol abuse

Impaired judgement under the influence of alcohol causes many deaths each year as a result of accidents. Alcohol also negatively affects your liver function and can ultimately lead to liver cirrhosis and death. Just one evening of binge-drinking can be the death of you. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal. We should never forget that alcohol is actually a very dangerous substance – even if  you aren’t addicted but abuse it.

Preventing Deaths from Substance Abuse

The best way to prevent death from substance abuse is by quitting drugs and not relapsing. Getting help from professional rehabilitation centers is the best way to help a person stay sober and prevent deaths from substance abuse.

Another solution to prevent deaths from substance abuse would be to counter crooked thoughts. Crooked thoughts are negative ideas that make people feel worthless or insecure and make them turn to drugs for relief. Addicts often use these thoughts to justify their substance abuse, blaming the world around them for their problem.

One of the best ways to overcome substance abuse, and death as a result of substance abuse, would be to tackle the problem at its roots and help people to think in a healthy way. That’s why counselling is so important to recovering substance abusers and addicts – it helps you to identify and correct crooked thinking.

If you are suffering from substance abuse, or if you know someone who is, seek help today. In the long run, it is always better to be drug-free. After all, substance abuse kills.